‘If you won a lottery of Rs.10 lakh, how would you spend it?’
I asked this to a bunch of friends and the replies were a wide range of options such as buying a car, going for a vacation, repaying debt, spending on higher studies and so on.
Who was I to judge anyone’s choice here? There is no right or wrong answer. While one person thought spending on a vacation is wasteful, another thought repaying debt is so boring and unimaginative! Our choices are a reflection of our perspectives. Perspectives stem from our learnings during early childhood, culture, environment, past experiences and assumptions and even age to a certain degree.
When we judge someone based on our own yardstick, we are actually limiting our mind. Seeing and understanding the world from someone else’s point of view is an important life skill. We need to understand how someone else sees the world to be able to work together, communicate and show empathy and understanding. The key to this is to respect differences, be open-minded and have tolerance while focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses and solutions instead of problems. Try the following to get the other perspective, and you may end have having a fresh unique way of dealing with a situation.
- Listen, see and feel the perspective
When someone is sharing a different perspective, hear them out. At the same time be alert towards what is being left unsaid. Often, people have the tendency to wrap the real message in indirect words. Also, observe their body language and feel their emotions to fully grasp what is being presented. It helps us to determine what they are thinking, feeling, doing or planning.
- Understand the why
Before jumping to any conclusion, try to understand – why did this person do or say what they did? Asking directly is always the best way instead of depending on ambiguity or false assumptions. Understanding one’s connections, exposed environment, situation, goals, motivations and associations go far in understanding the why in perspectives.
- Respect differences
Understanding different perspectives requires maturity to gain information and be respectful of another person’s personal beliefs. When we are disrespectful to another person and their belief system it is the quickest path to creating separation and division between people. It is the surest way to upset a relative, neighbour or co-worker.
- Be vulnerable
One of the scariest things about seeing the world through an open mind is making yourself vulnerable. In agreeing to have an open-minded view of the world, you’re admitting you don’t know everything and that there are possibilities you may not have considered. It frees you from having to be right all the time.
Next time you are faced with an idea or opinion which is different from yours, don’t get defensive or judgemental. If you want to succeed as a leader, you need to be open-minded. You need to break out of your normal thinking patterns to find innovative ideas. A leader does this by being ready for anything and acknowledging that they don’t have all of the answers. Being open-minded allows leaders to see things from a different perspective or how things can be applied in new and novel ways.
The best ideas emerge when different perspective meet!
You can listen to the podcast on this topic here: https://anchor.fm/dashboard/episode/eq118f